The Committee for Defence of Human Rights in Ogun State on Thursday called on the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission to probe alleged diversion of funds allocated to some local government councils in the state.
The state chairman of the CDHR in the state, Mr. Folarin Olayinka, stated this during a press conference held at NUJ Secretariat, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta.
The organisation also demanded a statement of appropriated Federal Allocation, Internally Generated Revenue, statement of expenditure and a document of projects embarked upon by the local government councils between July 2012 and April 2014.
Olayinka said the CDHR had written to some of the councils which include Abeokuta South, Abeokuta North, Sagamu, Ifo , Ado-Odo-Ota, Ijebu-Ode and Odogbolu, local government areas of the state to make their accounts available for scrutiny.
He said the organisation took advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to do this..
Olayinka said the human rights group was moved to act due to many reports of fund diversion being sent to them.
He said the petitioners had alleged that many of the projects executed were not commensurate with allocation they received.
He said, “We therefore use this medium to make a clarion call on the anti-graft agencies; EFCC and ICPC to step in and salvage the local government situation in Ogun State as fund diversion has become the order of the day by some local government chairmen.”
Olayinka, however, condemned the response by Abeokuta South Local Government which it said claimed that the FoI law had not been domesticated in the state.
But, in its reaction, the government lamented that none of the local government councils was buoyant enough to pay its staff salaries let alone siphoning the funds allocated to the council.
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Muyiwa Oladipo, said in the past eight months, the Federal Allocation had dwindled to N2.9bn which he said was less than N3.2bn the state government used to pay salaries of teachers and local government staff.
He said, “I wonder how local government chairmen can siphon the council funds when the funds were not even enough to pay the salary of their workers?”
Also corroborating the commissioner’s view, the Supervisor for Information in Abeokuta South Local Government, Mr. Oluwole Sunday, said the CDHR did not go through the normal procedure in demanding the council’s accounts.
But he confirmed that his council had received a letter demanding some documents from it.